Melissa McCarthy and Jason Bateman go on a tumultuous journey together in their new movie, “Identity Thief,” but the jokes never seem to take off for the fast-paced comedy.
Diana (Melissa McCarthy), is a carefree woman with an affinity for shopping sprees and pampering - all on someone else’s bill. She buys five of everything, like jewelry and clothes, and enough high-tech gadgets to accomplish anything from fake ID’s to perfect copies of unsuspecting people’s credit cards.
Enter Sandy Patterson (Jason Bateman), Diana’s newest victim. He plays a family man with a child on the way, struggling from paycheck to paycheck and looking for any opportunity to move up in the world. He finally gets the chance when several coworkers branch off from his company and start their own business - taking the clientele with them and, for Patterson, a promotion to Vice President.
As soon as the business is up-and-running, Patterson finds his life falling apart - all in one morning. His identity has been stolen, and under the pressure of his new boss, he is offered an ultimatum to fix his problem or lose his job. Patterson flies down to Florida to persuade the woman ruining his life to come clean, only to find that he is not the only one after her. After a shootout with drug dealers, Patterson flees with Diana and they start their off-kilter journey all the way from Miami to Denver.
The movie has similarities to ‘’Planes, Trains and Automobiles,” because of the terribly uncomfortable ordeal the characters have to go through - such as multiple car accidents, kidnappings and making it across country on a budget - but the movie just falls short on humor.
It relies on cheap laughs with vulgar sexual content and coarse language to amuse the audience, but they are few and unentertaining. The plot drags on through chase scenes where Diana proves to be indestructible, being hit by cars and tazed. She takes no responsibility for her actions and always takes the easy way out, but as Diana and Sandy open up to each other later on in the film, the viewer can’t help but start to feel sympathy for the seemingly heartless thief.
There are more laughs toward the end but the painstakingly long time it seemed to get there just leaves one with resentment. The end is predictable and leaves a warm feeling as everything ends well for everybody, but not enough to redeem the movie.
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